What is Required Reverse Mortgage Counseling?

Prior to being approved for a reverse mortgage, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires each borrow to participate in a counseling session with an approved agency. These not-for-profit agencies are funded by the federal government and work closely with both the FHA and lenders to ensure a smooth process.

The goal of this session is not to steer a potential borrower in one direction or another, but to make sure they clearly understand all aspects of a reverse mortgage.

Here is what you can expect at your counseling session:

The potential borrower will need to schedule an appointment directly with a counseling agency. The lender does not initiate or take part in the session, but can provide you with resources to seek out a counselor. The session will take place in person or over the phone – although the FHA recommends a face-to-face meeting whenever possible.

Prior to your appointment, the counseling agency will provide you with a packet of information to allow you to prepare for the session. During the session the counselor will discuss your immediate and long-term financial needs, your reasons for seeking out a reverse mortgage, address any questions or concerns you may have, and clearly educate you on the process as well as the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage. Again, they are not there to “sell” you on the product, but to educate instead.

Once you have completed the counseling session, you will be provided with a “Certificate of Completion”. This certificate verifies to your lender that you have completed the counseling session and that you understand the essentials of a reverse mortgage. Your counselor will also follow up with you to ensure you have no further needs, questions, or concerns.

Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Northridge, Reseda, Encino, Granada Hills, Sylmar, San Fernando, Sun Valley and many more areas of southern California.  Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

Should Your Financial Planner Be Discussing Reverse Mortgage?

When financial planners counsel retirees on how to best leverage their retirement portfolio, social security, and other assets, considering a reverse mortgage was long not part of that conversation – but this is beginning to change.

As the myths of the industry are laid to rest, many professionals are beginning to better understand how reverse mortgage can be used as a financial planning tool for seniors who are on a strict budget or who want to live their golden years to the fullest.  Reverse mortgages can often mean the difference between just living and living life to the fullest.

A few tips for financial planners:

  • Seek out and work with a reputable reverse mortgage specialist who has strong ties to the community, lends from an organization that is a member of the Better Business Bureau, and is associated with the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.
  • Make sure you fully understand the information you may be offering your retiree client.  With the amount of misinformation within the industry, if you are not 100% sure of an answer, call your trusted reverse mortgage specialist to ensure the information you are providing is accurate.
  • Communicate with adult children who may have concerns and make sure they fully understand the process from A to Z.  Eliminating misinformation is key.
  • Remember, reverse mortgages are not one-size-fits-all.  Be creative and comprehensive when considering adding a reverse mortgage to a long term retirement plan.  

Janice Cohen is a HECM Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the North Hollywood, Sunland, Tujunga, Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, Montrose and many more areas of southern California.  Click here to contact Janice and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.